Friday, December 21, 2012


I love Christmas and have had so much time lately to devote to pursuits that I enjoy because of a little challenge I had for myself; to get all gifts purchased by advent. This Christmas season has been by far the most peaceful and low key that I can remember. Definitely a challenge I intend to extend to future years. Here are just a few of the things that have been crafted in the past few weeks.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The alligator

Today I had Bug and the boy I babysit and brought them up to the hospital to visit my dad. He's up on the 4th floor and the boys were so excited when we got to his room they kept talking about an alligator. This happens sometimes where they'll both start talking about something random and usually by looking around the room I can figure out what brought it up. Well, no dice on that, I was stumped as to why both boys were excitedly talking about an alligator. I was stumped until we left and I went to push the button on the elevator...
Love these boys

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Everything's better when you hug it out

My boy is such a love. He loves hugging and kissing. We went to visit my mom and dad today and there were a bunch of Bug's cousins staying there because of hurricane Sandy. I just love this picture of Bug hugging his cousin. I pray he keeps this sweet tender heart of his. I'm so thankful to be able to see the world through his eyes if only just briefly.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Halloween 2012

So this past week New Jersey (and pretty much the whole East Coast) got hit by Hurricane Sandy.  Here at Chez Dirkey we got rain but didn't even lose power, less than 30 miles from here though is a different story.  This week was a nightmare for so many, my family members included.  My sister lives on one of those islands that you're seeing in the news, her house flooded, her mother in law lost everything.  Just Crazy.

We figured a little levity was needed, what better way to bring a smile than to dress a toddler up as a farmer, tractor included.
Praying for brighter days ahead for all affected by Sandy.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

This Time

This time is easier than last
This time I have more faith
This time I am stronger

Last time I had no idea
no idea that my dream would come true
that I would have a little boy to love
that he would bring me so much joy
and if last time never happened
I would have never had my Bug

So I walk in this moment
knowing I've walked here before
and come through the other side
and I know it will be alright.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Bug is a big talker, he loves talking about his day and narrating what goes on. He's been talking about choo choo's, trucks and guys for months but the past two weeks he's really exploded with language. The most notable to me is that he says when someone is nice to him. My aunt got him a snack of cheese and strawberries and all day he was saying "cheese nice" My mom got him choo choo underwear and today he was saying "granny, green, choo choo, nice". He mostly has his colors down with his favorites looking like green, blue and pink.

The other thing I notice is he pays attention when others are sad. We were over visiting my sister and her children yesterday. Today I was asking him and he was talking about her two oldest and swimming. I asked about her youngest and he said "Payton sad, her sad". Payton got stung by a wasp yesterday right before we left so he was remembering her crying.  They do play rough with each other so maybe he was remembering making her sad too ;)

I'm amazed at this little boy. He is rough and tumble but also sweet as can be. I love this stage where he communicates more of his wants and needs and look forward to more conversations with my boy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

20 months

How can it be that my sweet boy is twenty months. So much has changed since I last updated. He Is made of pure joy. I'm positive of this. Yes, he has his moments but the joy and love he shows to others and new situations is amazing to me. He exuberantly loves life and literally wakes up smiling asking to play with his choo choos every single day.
He runs everywhere and is usually laughing. He can be extremely cautious with some things and absolutely fearless with others. He loves walks and grabs my fingers for walks often, he even loves walks that he rides in the stroller for. He loves bike rides and really really wants to ride our bikes. He will try to get on every time we have them out.
He talks all the time and I love that he can tell me more what he needs and wants. I love that he understands us more now as well.
Well that's it for now. I'll definitely try to update more as time definitely flies by and I want to hold on to these memories we are making now.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Heart in your throat

You hold your breath
Heart beating
Realizing the depth of love
Yet again
Surprised at your capacity
The tiniest flutter
A breath
A heartbeat
Realizing the reward
Of great risk
Loving one so much
That your very breath
Is controlled by theirs

Monday, February 06, 2012

In The Shadow

Last week we had some gorgeous days so Bug and I took the opportunity and went to the playground. Bug loved it and was running around like a madman. He's such a social little guy and was having such a fun time just being around all those kids. It was a big playground so I spent my time chasing Bug around making sure he was safe. I stopped short when I looked up and I saw that Bug was completely encased in my shadow. It just struck me that no matter how hard I try I can't keep my Bug safe from everything, the realization took my breath away. There is One who loves him even more than I do and in His shadow I pray he will dwell all of his days.

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

New International Version (NIV)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Budgeting for Organic Foods-Menu Planning

The key to a successful budget is planning. My biggest problem is waste and overbuying and you can combat both of these with a great plan. The other thing I notice is that when I plan I am more inspired to make more new and interesting foods.
My first step to planning is taking stock of what I have in the fridge/pantry that needs to be used up. This week I have some leftover beef stock from making crock pot roast beef sandwiches, zucchini and ham that I want to use up.

So lets start from there with the leftover beef broth, I'd like to make Risotto. I found a great recipe online that sounds delicious! Now I'm not using tenderloin for this, I'm using leftover chuck roast. That's another one of my big ways of saving money, really stretching our meat and using cheaper cuts. We really just use meat to add flavor and see it as a side not the main component. Pinterest has been a great source of inspiration and I saw these healthy Zucchini chips that I'd love to try. The ham is just begging to be made into Spit Pea Soup, YUM!!

Beef Risotto-I'll be using some mushrooms we have in the fridge for this, so we have everything in house to make this except for the wine. I'm also using Aborrio rice instead of the carnaroli rice the recipe calls for (Aborrio is also a great Risotto rice). As a side I want to make Zucchini chips because I think that would brighten up the heaviness of the meal, Also I'd like to bring them to the Superbowl party we are going to Sunday but want to try out the recipe beforehand.

SUPERBOWL!! We were invited to a friends house so I just wanted to bring a couple things, the first being the Zucchini chips and the second is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip. These look delicious! For the Cookie Dough Dip I'll bring some apples as well as Graham Crackers to dip.

Monday I'll be babysitting so its a great day to use my crockpot for some Split Pea Soup. We have some Ezekiel bread that will hold up nicely toasted with this soup! Another meal we don't need to buy anything for.

Spicy Honey Chicken, Brown Rice and Broccoli. For this we buy our Chicken from Trader Joes and get Organic Cage Free thighs for 4.99 lb. It is a bit pricy but this will be the only meal this week that is featuring meat and using more than a lb.

Another Pinterest find is Coconut, Shrimp and Corn Chowder. This looks delicious and we happen to have some wild caught shrimp in the freezer and all the ingredients in the pantry.

Dahl with Spinach served with brown rice. One of the hubs favorite foods is Dahl, which is awesome because its cheap and nutritious! We often do vegetarian nights to save cash. Thankfully the hubs will eat everything! If your family isn't big on the vegetarian bandwagon try to cook foods from other cultures, they might be so fooled by the new flavors that they will not even realize that they are eating vegetarian!

Pizza! Pizza crust is cheap and easy to make yourself. Pizza is also a great fridge emptier; take your veggies, leftover meats, cheese ends and use them up! One of my friends parents instituted pizza night at their house when we were younger. Everyone was invited and they just made pizza after pizza. It was so fun and delicious and everyone ended up there on Friday nights! Something I definitely want to start doing in our house!

So as far as our menu plan goes here is what I need to buy: Garbonzo Beans, Graham Crackers, Onions, Garlic, Broccoli, Spinach, Chicken Thighs and Corn. As you can see I'm relying heavily on what is in my pantry so I really only need to pick up a few things to make our dinners. Now I go through and add in some of the other things we'll need this week: fruit, yogurt, milk, eggs. For our breakfasts we either eat eggs, oatmeal or smoothies so I try to have those things in the house at all times. Lunches generally are leftovers. Now that I'm all done figuring what we are eating this week I go through my house and see what needs to be re-filled. I like to keep a well stocked pantry (flour, sugar, oatmeal, beans, coffee, butter, peanut butter, tuna, jelly, baking needs, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, olive oil, etc). Once I see what I need to replenish I check the sales and see if there is anything there that I can buy in bulk. This week my groceries I need will probably only cost $40-45 so I have about $30-35 to restock my pantry or stock up on sales items. Sometimes I'll use this extra if I see good sales and sometimes I will roll it into the next weeks budget to save up in case there is a good sale on meat or I'm close to needing a high priced item (maple syrup, oils, etc). I'll also use the surplus to sometimes treat us to takeout.

What are you making this week?

Grocery List
Garbonzo Beans-3 cans (1 for the dip and 2 for pantry as I used mine up this week on hummus)
Graham Crackers
chicken thighs

Red Wine

Monday, January 30, 2012

My sweet boy

I want to bottle 15 months up and save it so I never forget it. My Bug is full of sweetness, smiles and hugs. He bends low and puts his head against you for his hugs and his open mouth big drooly giggle-filled kisses are the highlight of my day. Yesterday he was hugging his plastic animals. He has a tender heart that doesn't like when someone's sad. His Mom-Mom has been sick in bed and he takes every opportunity to give her drinks from his sippy cup and hugs whatever he can reach; her foot, her hand, the mattress. There were two little girls selling girl scout cookies door to door yesterday, he heard them giggling and took off running after them. He caught up to them and just started hugging them and chattering away. I hope to have a heart like his, sweet and kind. My boy, I already want to be like you. May you never stop inspiring me.
Your Mama

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Budgeting for Organic Foods-Step 1 Taking Stock and Prioritizing

A few of my friends have been asking me how we afford to eat organic foods after they watched Food Inc. After some discussion I was a little shocked to know that we had almost the same grocery budget (mine was $5 more a week). I was asked to tell how to eat clean foods on a budget. Let me give you a little background on this, I started on this lifestyle shortly after we got married and have gradually gotten "crunchier". We make some choices that have been viewed as extreme in order to be able to fit this into our budget. I view our budget as a game of "Would You Rather", lets dive in a bit.

In our home we:
cloth diaper
use rags for cleaning
use cloth napkins for food
clean with vinegar and baking soda
line dry whatever clothes that we can
change our own oil and do car repairs that we can (well the hubby does these)
mend our own clothes
try to learn new skills rather than paying someone to do them for us (plumbing, electrical, etc)
buy used "beater" cars with cash
stockpile food either by buying in bulk for better prices or by buying the max amount of a sale price
shop at multiple stores for best prices
buy used clothing for the whole family if possible
bake from scratch instead of buying convenience foods
turn off lights like freaks
I cut my husbands hair
we don't have premium channels (and our cable is free)
we don't watch tv until the evening
we drink water for beverages
we don't have netflix or hulu plus

This is not an exhaustive list but it gives you an idea of the types of ways we cut back on our budget in other ways to accommodate the things that we find most important. What's most important to our family right now is for me to be home with our son and for all of us to eat nutritious REAL foods. Now don't think we are complete misers here. We do allow some luxuries into our life. My husband and I have a slight Starbucks addiction, we both have smartphones (his company pays for his and because we don't have to pay for a cell phone for him we use that savings for the data plan for me) and other things. We live a rich full life that we enjoy by taking stock of what's important to us and cutting things out that we don't care about. I would rather do these things and eat well than have some more conveniences and not be able to eat this way.

So I challenge you to take a look at your spending and write every single blessed thing down that you spend your money on. Once you have a month of that take a look at what you are spending your money on and figure out if there are things you can do to reduce that number. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day and you don't need to make complete and drastic changes overnight but just little steps in the right direction. Figure out what the most important change to you is (for me it was buying organic milk and cage free organic eggs) and make that change this month. If you have questions or scenarios that you want to know more about let me know and we can address them in future posts. I'm not the authority on this but whatever knowledge I have I'd be happy to pass on.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I know how you feel Bug

The hubs went into the office this morning only to turn around and work from home. Being the generally wonderful person he is he stopped and picked up Starbucks for me. Well, ever since he got home this is what I've been dealing with. Seems like the boy wanted his own and has been throwing an epic fit to get mine. Oh little one, this one, mommy can completely empathize with. That is totally how I feel before my coffee.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Past Few Months

So it's been quite awhile. Things have been crazy hectic for the past few months. Shortly after Bug's birthday we found out my mother had breast cancer. What a terrifying phone call to get, but it really helps you put in perspective what is important. Thankfully after two minor surgeries and radiation treatment she is now cancer free. She still is dealing with hormone treatment and will deal with that for the foreseeable future. I don't envy her in this as I've heard that this can be a very difficult.

Shortly after my mom finished her treatments the hub's mom got horribly ill. For awhile we weren't sure if she would make it. Thankfully she is home now recuperating. I'm praying that 2012 is a year of health for our family.

During this time we have really just been focusing on being with our families and helping as much as we can. I'm thankful I am home and can help when needed. I'm more thankful that both our Mom's are ok.